Felon who skipped sentencing shot dead during Parker County standoff

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by TODD UNGER, JIM DOUGLAS and MARJORIE OWENS

WFAA

Posted on October 14, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 15 at 8:14 PM

PARKER COUNTY — Authorities said a convicted felon was shot dead during a standoff that began Monday evening and continued into Tuesday morning at a Parker County home near Azle.

Winford Raynord Watkins, 42, was shot by three deputies after aiming what looked like a  handgun at law enforcement officers from inside a home where he barricaded himself after a chase, said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler.

Watkins' weapon turned out to be a pellet pistol.

Authorities said Watkins was a desperate and determined man. During confrontations with deputies, he shouted, "I'm not going back to jail."

Watkins was sentenced to 45 years in prison for burglary of a habitation and felony theft for a McKinney home burglary last week. He failed to appear in a Collin County court for the end of his trial in September.

"There just wasn't any way he was going," Fowler said.

The standoff began with a chase between deputies and Watkins after a routine traffic stop Monday. Fowler said a deputy pulled over a vehicle with Watkins behind the wheel and a female passenger.

As the deputy returned to his patrol car, Watkins exited his vehicle and approached the law enforcement officer with a stack of papers in his hands. According to Fowler, the deputy spotted a gun hidden inside the stack and demanded Watkins empty his hands. The suspect then grabbed a lug wrench from his vehicle and began beating on the driver's side window of the patrol car. The sheriff said the deputy feared the suspect was attempting to make a grab for a fully-loaded AR-15 rifle inside the car and fired shots at Watkins, but missed.

Watkins returned to his car and fled the scene with the passenger. After a short pursuit down a dead-end road, Watkins bailed out of the vehicle and ran towards houses in a wooded area.

Heavily-armed forces scoured the area as a helicopter searched from above. Using tracking dogs, authorities eventually were able to pinpoint the location of Watkins inside one of the homes, which belonged to someone the suspect knew. 

"We felt like he was hiding in the attic," Fowler said. "We couldn't see."

Authorities attempted to use tear gas to force Watkins from the home, but Fowler said the gas couldn't penetrate the thick insulation in the attic.

Law enforcement decided to "wait him out."

"We felt like time was on our side," Fowler said. "... We held the perimeter on the house all night."

The suspect exited the attic at about 5:20 a.m. Tuesday, which was when the fatal shooting occurred.

"He dropped down out of the attic and the deputies engaged him in the hallway," Fowler said. "He pointed a handgun at the deputies and they opened fire on him."

Watkins crawled into a bathroom, where law enforcement used a remote camera to ensure he was deceased. The sheriff said the pellet pistol was found underneath Watkins' right leg.

Bruce Richards owns the home on Cindy Lane where Watkins hid. He said Watkins wanted to escape from his addiction and criminal past.

Richards said he let Watkins and his wife stay at his home for several days, but told them to leave after learning that Watkins was a wanted man.

Fowler said the three deputies involved in the shooting will be placed on a routine leave of absence as Texas Rangers investigate the incident.

Parker County authorities also arrested Watkins' wife, 46-year-old Dawn Charlene Watkins, on drug possession and theft charges out of Carrollton.

Sheriff Fowler said Watkins had told her he would die by police rather than return to prison for a third time.

Investigators said they found methamphetame in Watkins' vehicle..

 

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